Urgent reform of Code of Conduct Group long overdue in fight against tax dumping
More than two years after the LuxLeaks scandal, MEPs have tonight been debating on the merits and recommendations for reforming the Code of Conduct Group on business taxation (CoCG) at the March plenary in Strasbourg.
During its 19-year existence, the CoCG has pursued its objective of combating harmful tax practices in the EU through legally non-binding agreements in the areas of administrative practices, anti-abuse rules, transparency and exchange of information in the area of transfer pricing and promotion of the principles of the code of conduct in non-EU countries.
Given the scandals over corporate sweetheart deals and tax evasion at the heart of the EU, the group’s effectiveness has been called into question.
For GUE/NGL’s Fabio De Masi – a member at the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) – the status quo must change:
“Since LuxLeaks, the EU has promised to fight corporate tax dumping. Yet, we are still losing hundreds of billions of euros a year to Disney, McDonalds and others whilst the EU is falling apart.”
“The Code of Conduct group has been responsible for combating harmful tax competition for 20 years. But that has been a failure with very little to show for.”
“If we keep giving EU tax havens veto powers, we will never make progress with either establishing a blacklist for tax havens or a sufficiently progressive Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base for Europe,” said De Masi.
Equally damning of the situation is Irish MEP Matt Carthy who sits as a substitute on the ECON Committee and who reserved criticism for EU member states that continue to veto reforms for fair and transparent corporate taxation.
“Ireland’s Finance Minister claims our country is committed to the highest international standards on tax transparency. But he’s also on the record as opposing public country-by-country reporting (CBCR).”
“Government and tax industry representatives claim this is about trust – the Irish people have trust in our Revenue agency therefore making CBCR public is unnecessary,” said Carthy.
“Well, lots of people don't trust Revenue – the agency that gave illegal sweetheart deals to Apple.”
“Making CBCR public is vital to ensure democratic, public scrutiny of corporate tax,” the Irish MEP added.